By Romanus Okoye, Lagos
The Lagos State Judicial Panel has ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammad Adamu, and others to appear before it over a case of land encroachment.
Debo Adeleke, the lawyer of petitioner Adewale Adewuyi, alleged that the police refused to release 26 acres of farmland seized from the petitioner, who is on a stretcher, since 2013. Adeleke asked the panel to summon the IGP so that the police could be compelled to release the seized farmland. The counsel told the panel that the police invaded the farmland located at Age-Mowo near Badagry on December 17, 2013, and destroyed it.
He said the destruction of his client’s farm made his health deteriorate to the extent that he could not move or feed himself. Adeleke said a federal court judgment in 2017 ordered the police to release the farmland and to negotiate with his client, the amount to pay for damages and physical assault.
He said the police refused to release the farmland or engage in alternative dispute resolution, despite efforts to compel them to do so. Adeleke asked the panel to use its credibility to summon the IGP, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the legal department, force headquarters, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Co-operative Police College, Ikeja, and other parties mentioned in the petition, to compel them to release the farmland.
‘That order is needed, although I’m not supposed to say this but this is a fact-finding panel. We need to summon the IGP so that he can tell the commissioner of police to release this land to us. They are not using the law, it is just there,’ he said.
‘Everybody fears the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution. We will be grateful if my lord will issue the order.’
Cyril Ejiofor, police counsel, asked that he should be given two weeks to meet with the legal department so that the issue would be resolved.
Doris Okuwobi, chairman of the panel, ordered that the parties mentioned in the petition should be served summons and adjourned the matter until March 30.